Sheeran stays ever-humble in meteoric rise 0
Blending soulful vocals with introspective folk song hooks, 21-year-old Ed Sheeran has become a phenomenon in his native Britain on the strength of the hit single, You Need Me, I Don't Need You, while his YouTube channel has garnered over 100 million video views. Prior to the June 12 North American release of his debut CD +, Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the singer.
24: After becoming a big deal in Britain, you're only now starting to gain attention in North America. What's that like to have to start all over again in another part of the world?
ES: To be honest that's pretty much been the last year for me, because even though it blew up in England first we still had to do all the groundwork in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, all of Europe and now North America. Whenever my music is blowing up worldwide, I'm constantly in a country that doesn't know who the hell I am. It's just healthy. It gives you something to work towards.
24: Your debut album exploded in Britain with the highest-opening sales figures ever for a debut artist. Your single, The A Team, made history as last year's highest-charting debut single in the UK. Did you see this happening?
ES: No. Even last January when I signed the record deal after doing lots of independent work I would have been happy if I went gold (100,000 copies in England), but the more the whole campaign started rolling and snowballing, I realized that I could actually go gold in a week. Then I was like, 'Right, let's try and go platinum in a month, then let's try and sell a million by Christmas' and we did that. I kind of set my goals when I achieve the last goal that I set. I've now set my goal to play Madison Square Garden. Once I've done that, I'll have to set something a little more stratospherical - Shea Stadium or something.
24: What's been your perception of North American audiences so far?
ES: They're kind of similar to all the other audiences, but every country has a different vibe. I find North Americans are quite similar to the English; they love discovering music first and being the kind of hardcore fans. It's lovely to see.
24: How do you stay focused and grounded?
ES: I surround myself with a lot of cool people. For instance, being on tour with Snow Patrol; they've sold like 20 million records and have been going for 17 years, which is almost as long as I've been alive. They are just the nicest, most humble people that you've ever met . That always keeps me in my place. I may be selling all these records but there's always going to be people that are better than you. It's healthy to know that.
We have two copies of Ed Sheeran's CD to give away. The winners will be selected from new followers to @24hoursvan and @reallyjoeleary.